This Monday I had an opportunity to visit another farm. I was doing double duty as a writer covering the event and a farmer hoping to learn from it. Yer Vang is a Hmong immigrant from Laos. She has been farming 7 acres in Dakota county for over 4 years. This year she is taking part in a “cabbage project” a study about alternative methods of pest control on cabbage. This is why she was hosting an open house.
For me though the highlight of the day was the food. Served under simple canopy on the edge of the woods surrounding her field the simple fare tasted like a feast. Vang had set up a little shack for the occasional over night gardening and to provide shelter during the day. She and her sisters arrived early the morning we were all set to arrive. They harvested and prepared it the same day over an open fire at the edge of the field. There was steamed squash and green beans, Stir-fried mustard greens, Hot chile sauce, sliced cucumber and my children’s favorite, sliced watermelon.
After a grace said in the language I didn’t understand we all dug in. The atmosphere was perfect. The kids were dirty from playing in the woods before the meal but no one really cared.
Afterwards I decided to purchase a watermelon. I am not sure what variety it was nice something was lost in translation but it was fabulous. I asked if I could save the seeds and she said yes, so next year I will grow watermelon I do not know the name of. Obviously good, fresh food spans many cultures.